River Life Along the Dutch Waterways

Come celebrate the beauty of Holland and old-world Flanders in springtime and travel with alumni and friends from April 18 – 26, 2019. 


Not only did the Dutch wrest a portion of their land from the sea, but they succeeded in building upon it an enchanted realm carpeted by vibrantly hued flowers and traced with storied waterways unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Come celebrate the beauty of Holland and old-world Flanders in springtime and travel with alumni and friends from April 18 – 26, 2019, on this comprehensive itinerary. Cruise aboard the deluxe AMADEUS SILVER II, one of the finest ships to ply the waterways of Europe and traverse the canals of this delightful polder land.

Discover the true essence of river life in the Low Countries with an included excursion in every port and see firsthand this sublime region’s breathtaking tulip fields in full bloom. Explore two UNESCO World Heritage sites—distinctive 16th‑ and 17th‑century house‑lined canals of Amsterdam, and the well‑preserved, medieval Flemish jewel of Bruges. Expert‑guided tours also include the “Golden Age” trading town of Hoorn, the world‑famous Keukenhof Gardens, the mercantile town of Antwerp, the old Hanseatic city of Kampen, the quaint village of Giethoorn, the captivating ancient city of Maastricht, and the poignant World War II American Military Cemetery in nearby Margraten. Discover the artistic legacy of the world‑class Kröller‑Müller Museum and the rich history of the medieval Dutch-speaking county of Flanders. Enjoy enriching lectures and the exclusive RIVER LIFE® FORUM, which features local residents’ perspectives and provides an insider’s view of modern life and cultural heritage in Holland.

RIVER LIFE® ALONG THE DUTCH WATERWAYS is an exceptional itinerary that travels extensively through this delightful region. It includes exclusive CULTURAL ENRICHMENTS, specially arranged early museum entry, privately chartered small boat canal cruises, an exclusive musical concert, and much more!  Please contact the Travel Study Program office for more details and to reserve your place while choice accommodations are available.

Dates and Prices:

Trip Dates: April 18 - 26, 2019

Prices: from $2,995 per person based upon double occupancy

Program Itinerary:

Depart the U.S.A. on individually scheduled flights to Amsterdam

Upon arrival in Amsterdam, transfer to Amadeus Brilliant for Embarkation. This afternoon, Board a privately chartered canal boat and cruise the charming and picturesque canals of Amsterdam past stately canal houses, colorful houseboats, arched bridges. The Canals of Amsterdam were built during the Golden Age during the Middle Ages to show off the wealth of the city. Today the canals are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Early this evening, meet local residents for the Village Life Forum and learn about life in Holland. Join fellow travelers for a welcome toast and dinner aboard the ship this evening. (D)

After breakfast, disembark for a scenic transfer to Kuekenhoff for one of the highlights of the day, a  visit to the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens. These beautiful gardens are only open a few months each year with more than 90 bulb-growing companies participating. Join the guide for a walk through the gardens or explore on your own.

Enjoy a late lunch aboard the ship this afternoon , followed by a walking tour of Hoorn. Founded in 716, Hoorn rapidly grew to become a major harbor town. During Holland's 'Golden Age' (or 'Golden Century'), Hoorn was an important home base for the Dutch East India Company and a very prosperous center of trade. The Hoorn fleet plied the seven seas and returned laden with precious commodities. Exotic spices such as pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and mace were sold at vast profits. With their skill in trade and seafaring, sons of Hoorn established the town's name far and wide. This afternoon enjoy a walking city tour in the charming city. Walk along the lively harbor and admire the Hoofdtoren, an early 16th century tower and one of the last city defenses still standing. Return to the ship for dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Kampen is an old Hanseatic city at the lower reaches of the river IJssel in the Dutch province of Overijssel. Kampen has one of the best preserved old town centers of the Netherlands, including remains of the ancient city wall (of which three gates are still standing) and numerous churches. Also notable are the three bridges over the IJssel which connect Kampen with IJsselmuiden and Kampereiland, the agricultural area between the branches which form the IJssel delta, and a windmill (d'Olde Zwarver - the Old Vagabond). Visit the old town (Hanseatic League). See the 17th century leaning New Tower, the Old Town Hall, and the Bovenkerk (Church) which houses an organ with over 3,000 pipes for a private organ concert. Also see two of the city gates as well as a picturesque waterfront lined with four master sailing schooners. (B,L,D)

The ship arrives in Nijmegen this morning. Scenic Nijmegen is widely regarded as the oldest city in the Netherlands, and was settled in the 1st-Century B.C.E. Enjoy breakfast aboard followed by a scenic drive from Nijmegen to Kroller Muller Museum. One of the best museums in the Netherlands, the Kroller Muller has works by Picasso, Renoir, Sisley and Manet, but it is the van Gogh collection that makes it world class. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, the Nijmegen walking tour offers an exciting and varied walk through the historic city Centre of Nijmegen. The route goes along the Barbarossa ruins, the Latin school and the Waag building. (B,L,D)

Founded by the Romans, today the fabled city of Maastricht is an epicenter of art and culture. Enjoy a walking tour of the historic city center—in the late Middle-Ages a destination for pilgrims seeking the tomb of St. Servatius. See the towering Basilica of Our Lady. resembling a high-walled castle and built in one of Maastricht’s cobblestone squares in the year 1,000, and stand on the 13th-century wall looking across the River Meuse at the scenic city below.

In Margraten, walk through the Netherlands American Cemetery, where 8,301 American soldiers rest in peace. It is one of the largest American military cemeteries in Europe, honoring the allied operations during World War II. (B,L,D)

The Old Town of Antwerp preserves its charming Flemish culture in its labyrinth of squares and narrow passages that lead into the spectacular Grote Markt, where beautifully preserved guildhalls once bustled with 16th-century Baroque merchants and tradesman.  In the Cathedral of Our Lady, featuring a remarkable 47-bell carillon and soaring 401 foot, delicately ornamented spire, see the 17th-Century Baroque masterpieces of the city’s native son, Peter Paul Rubens, including the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, The Raising of the Cross and The Descent from the Cross.

This afternoon. enjoy time at leisure to explore Antwerp, or join an Optional afternoon excursion to the Delta Works ($160 per person). The goal of the Delta Project, an Act of Parliament in 1958, was to avoid a repeat of the catastrophic floods of 1953 when a huge surge of water ahead of a storm rushed far up the Delta estuaries of Zeeland and broke through weak dikes inland. This caused serial failure of dikes throughout the region and much of the province was flooded. Upon arrival at the Delta Works, see a movie of the Delta Works and have a guided tour.

This evening, join fellow travelers aboard the ship for the Captain's Farewell Reception & Dinner.  (B,L,R,D)

The rich history and capitalist heritage of Ghent are reflected in the splendid 12th- to 17th-cenetury guildhalls lining the quay. In St. Bravo’s Cathedral, see the Van Eyck brothers’ magnificent polyptych, the altarpiece of the adoration of the Mystical Lamb.

After a light lunch aboard the ship, Enjoy a scenic drive through the Flemish countryside to Bruges. On arrival in Bruges begin a walking tour to see the Gothic Town Hall, the famous octagonal belfry and tower and the Church of our Lady, with a visit to see Michelangelo's Virgin and Child housed at the church. Continue with a visit to the historic market place-the old center of Bruges is cradled on both sides by the river Reie.

Here stands the statue of two masters of the guild, Pieter de Goninck and Jan Breydel. The medieval market hall can be seen on the eastern side of the market place. On the western side is the red brick house of Boucout. Another impressive building on the market place is Government House. This fine example of neo-Gothic architecture houses the regional government of West Flanders Close by are the Burgplatz, site of Bruges’ castle, destroyed in 1434, the Town Hall, the Palace of Justice and the chapel of the Holy Blood, which contains a vial reputed to contain a few drops of Christ’s blood.

Return to the ship for dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

After breakfast aboard the ship, disembark and continue to The Hague for the post-program option, or transfer to Brussels for your return flight home. (B)

Included meals - B=Breakfast, L+Lunch, D=Dinner, R=Reception


  • Seven-night cruise aboard the specially chartered, deluxe M.S. AMADEUS SILVER II from Amsterdam to Ghent with port calls at Hoorn, Kampen, Nijmegen for the Kroller-Muller Museum, Maastricht, Antwerp, and Ghent for Bruges.
  • Deluxe, river-view, air-conditioned Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • Complimentary wine and beer are served with lunch and dinner.
  • All meals while cruising served at single seatings-early-risers' coffee, buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, four-course dinner and late-evening snack featuring fine continental cuisine.
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Complimentary WiFi throughout the ship.
  • Private cruise along Amsterdam's UNESCO World Heritage site Canal District
  • Walking tour in the charming former "Golden Age" trading town of Hoorn, made famous during the 17th-century era of the Dutch-East India Trading Company.
  • Walking tour of the former Hanseatic League city of Kampen.
  • Walking tour of 2,000-year-old Nijmegen, granted city status by the Roman Empire in A.D 104.
  • Tour of idyllic Maastricht, a fascinating city of ancient history, and contemporary art and culture.
  • Visit to the Netherlands American Cemetery, honoring Allied World War II operations in Margraten.
  • City tour of Antwerp featuring a visit to see three of Peter Paul Rubens' masterpieces in the 16th-century Cathedral of Our Lady.
  • Walking tour of Ghent, featuring St. Bravo's Cathedral.
  • Walking tour of the medieval, fairytale city of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Excursion to Keukenhof Gardens, known as the "Garden of Europe" to see the earth's largest display of spring flowers in bloom, weather permitting.
  • Guided tour of the world-class Kroller-Muller Museum for exploration of the Low Countries' rich artistic heritage.
  • Specially arranged, private organ concert featuring an 18th-century Hinsz organ in Kampen's Bovenkerk.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined above, with experienced local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Hospitality desk aboard ship.
  • The services of professional Program Directors throughout the program.
  • Complimentary use of a state-of-the-art audio headset for each participant during guided excursions.
  • Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.

Not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport fees; visas and fees for obtaining visas; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air taxes; airfare and associated local taxes*, airport facility taxes and federal inspection fees not listed int he "included features" section of the program brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from airport/hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later and/or departing earlier or later that scheduled group transfer(s); meals and and alcoholic beverages not listed in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure; and all other services not specifically mentioned in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.